Sunday, May 27, 2018

i'm trying to distract myself from the collapse of our country with all of the below

In addition to those recently linked recipes, here are a few other things I'm loving lately:

Reading: East of Eden by John Steinbeck
I finally read this (or should I say inhaled? I can't believe how quick of a read this was for me), and it was so good. Beautiful, moving, just the right amount of sad, I'm going to need to read this again.

Watching: Howl's Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki
I watched this on Mother's Day by myself, which sounds more depressing than it was. It was fun! This movie is magical and lovely and now my phone home and lock screen are pictures of Howl and Sophie so you know I'm a fan. It also reminded me that there are still so many Miyazaki movies I haven't seen (and aren't available on the holy trinity of Netflix/Hulu/Amazon), and I totally could've checked them out from the library, and I DIDN'T. Now my greatest regret from my time at Penn.

Listening: United States of Eurasia by Muse
I don't know why I love this song so much, but I've listened to it approximately 10,000 times and that Middle Eastern-y part never gets old.

More listening: The Bon Appetit Foodcast
I walk 25 min to/from lab every day, and this podcast makes it go a lot more quickly. The format is conversations among people from Bon Appetit (and often guests) about recipes, culinary techniques, the food world, etc. It's informative and funny and makes me really hungry for dinner when I get home.

MORE more listening: The Alison Show Podcast
I'm a big fan of this podcast, too. I initially thought it might be a little over the top for me (Alison is kind of out of control but in a good way!), but she actually gives a lot of practical, concrete self-improvement tips that put me in a better mood, even if I'm not intentionally focused on implementing all of them.

And finally, sidenote: I'm leaving for Paris and Rome in two weeks from yesterday. (Yay!!!) As a lover of spreadsheets and advanced planning I've already put together itineraries, but if you've been to either city, what was your favorite thing you did/place you ate? Don't want to miss something and have another thing to regret!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

better than hot ham water

Hi! I found some good recipes recently:

vegetable soup
I didn't make the basil pistou or the garlic bread, but the soup alone is delicious. Light and healthy without tasting like deprivation.

curried shepherd's pie
This was a great twist on shepherd's pie, but we used our favorite mashed potato recipe (boil the potatoes whole! peel and rice, add butter first, then add way more milk/cream than you think you'll need, salt generously)

red lentil soup with lemon
So much flavor coming from so few ingredients. It's pretty amazing.

Also: I am currently in denial that we are leaving my beloved Philadelphia in less than three weeks. Even though all of my extraneous pieces of furniture are disappearing and my guest bedroom is filling up with boxes, it still doesn't feel real. It's not happening!!!! You can't make me leave!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

canada goose mystery

Last November, when I was in Boston for a conference, I saw tons of people wearing coats with this logo:

I thought, hmmm, seems like a popular brand, and the coats look cute and super warm. Maybe I should get one? When I got back to Philly I started noticing lots of people with them here, too. So, I looked them up online and found out THEY COST OVER $900.

Look, I'm not opposed to spending a decent amount of money on a coat in the Northeast when you're going to wear it all the time, November-March (April this year!) but NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS???? That's insane. But the thing is, so many people have them! Aaron and I have an ongoing game called Spot the Canada Goose every time we're walking around the city together. It seems like a good tenth of the people in Philadelphia own one of these coats. My question is, HOW? Was there a free giveaway like the City Sports shirts everyone also seems to have? Was there a major sale at Boyd's? Is there a cart selling knock-offs outside Anthropologie at Rittenhouse Square? Is there a scholarship program for people in need of Arctic-level cold protection?

I feel like Erin on The Office after she met Holly: 

I just don't get it. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

matt bellamy is my style icon

I want to hire whoever is styling Matt Bellamy because his jacket collection is out of control:

I mean.


I would wear every single one of these.



I don't think you understand how much I need a red suit now.




Though to be honest, I would love to wear literally any jacket that is not my down coat outside right now. (Thanks a lot, THREE March snowstorms. What is this, Utah?) 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

odds and ends

I figured out what my ideal form of humor is, and it's computers writing nonsense:

a computer-generated list of new My Little Pony names via artificial neural network
We start at Sprinkle Cherry Bolt and rapidly descend to Deader Pony, Dunder Dort, and Tracklewock Packin. It's GREAT.

a Harry Potter chapter written with predictive text
I tried to pick a few lines to excerpt, but it's just all too good. You have to read it in full.

I made some food I liked recently:

These salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies are really weird, but they're also delicious. Very similar to these chocolate sable cookies (and similar potential pitfall with crumbliness-don't despair, just use a sharp knife when cutting and smoosh it back together).

I also made this chocolate babka wreath over Christmas break, and it turned out just as beautiful as the website pictures for once (and so delicious people ate it stale the next day).

Here are some science-y things I recommend reading:

Most of my scientific expertise is knowing how to make and work with proteins. This was a cool article that explains why proteins are cool and how scientists are designing new ones not found in nature.

I also really liked this article, on keeping a cosmic perspective + the Voyager golden record:

"I don’t think it is possible to contribute to the present moment in any meaningful way while being wholly engulfed by it. It is only by stepping out of it, by taking a telescopic perspective, that we can then dip back in and do the work which our time asks of us."

Not really science-y but I've been thinking about this, too: preserving white space in your daily routine (found via CoJ). Almost all of my dead time is full of looking at my phone (waiting for/riding in the elevator, waiting for an experiment to finish up, standing in line at the store, eating lunch, etc.), and I don't think that's a good thing.

I'll add that to my list of things to work on in 2018, joining learn basic Italian phrases (we're going to Europe this summer!!!!) and bake more cakes. Only appropriate, given that zucchero is inexplicably one of the first words Duolingo taught me. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

books of 2017

I read more books this year. I somewhat arbitrarily decided that this should be the year I read more sci-fi, so I read as many Isaac Asimov books as I could get my hands on until I realized that I hated the Foundation series. I love Robots, hate Foundation. I don't know what that says about me, but there you go. Here's what else I read:

Mormon Feminism edited by Joanna Brooks, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, and Hannah Wheelwright
The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens
I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Quiet by Susan Cain

Books I Felt Bad About Not Liking That Much
Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Delightful Re-reads
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I Went through an Asimov Phase
The Complete Robot by Isaac Asimov
The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
The Robots of Dawn by Isaac Asimov
Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov
Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Yay Sci-fi Short Stories!
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu

Yep, Still Obsessed with Brandon Sanderson
Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson
Secret History by Brandon Sanderson
Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson
Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Odds and Ends
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Chemistry by Weike Wang
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (this was really lovely–you should read it)
West with the Night by Beryl Markham
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Favorite Books (Series) of 2017
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin
Death's End by Liu Cixin

I loved The Three-Body Problem et al. It's a Chinese sci-fi series that is beautiful, and haunting, and so, so creative. By far the most interesting thing I read all year (and I read Stories of Your Life and Others, so that's saying something!). Highly recommended.

My goal for 2018 is to read 37 books, raising the bar by one book. Any book suggestions to help me get there? What was the best thing you read in 2017?

Here's what I read in 2016.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 highlights

January: Women's March in Philadelphia
This photo quality is terrible, but I love it because our regional church women's leadership is in it with us (Stake YW Pres and Relief Society Pres), and you can see the temple spire in the background. 

 April: Thesis defense!

April: Trip to LA! Met perfect baby niece Linden for the first time
Also ate a lot of good donuts and ice cream, visited a magical bookstore (hi, The Last Bookstore), and got to see the Broad. Met up with old BYU chemistry friend Naomi and my cousin Nick.

 May: PhD Graduation
Aaron's mom came out to celebrate with us, and we found a new favorite restaurant (Talula's Garden).

June: Roadtrip to North Carolina
Scoped things out to see if we wanted to move there (we did! we are!)

July: Trip to San Francisco and Sea Ranch
Sea Ranch is so beautiful it's unreal. Also, there are SEALS!

July: Saw Hamilton with my aunt Jenny
(10/10, would recommend)

October: Seminar at BYU & weekend in Seattle
I got to give my first ever "real" research seminar while at BYU, and we got to meet up with my beloved Bowen roomies Kristen and Amanda in Seattle.

 November: Surprised Aaron's family by showing up in Utah for Thanksgiving
(not our dog)

 November: Stayed with my cousin Sasha for a materials science conference in Boston
Also got to meet up with former labmate and dear friend Yanfei for ramen.

 December: Christmas in Utah with my family
MOA, Brick Oven, donut-making, Quiplash-playing ensued.

In spite of the terrible state of American politics, it turns out my personal 2017 was actually fantastic. I got to do/see/accomplish a lot of things I've wanted to do for a long time, and I got to spend my time with many of my favorite people.

Here's to an even better 2018!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

bull city, here we come!

I'm pretty sure this terrible phone picture was taken on Aaron's very first day of residency. Look at that cute physician tag on his ID and his sweet, optimistic face! It's been a long 2.5 years since, full of demoralizing weeks and terrible hours (my thoughts on medical training: it's legal hazing), and we can't wait for it to be over. And now we know where we'll be going when it finally ends:

He's going to be a Duke Blue Devil!

We are psyched at the prospect of affordable housing, lots of job opportunities for yours truly, and the possibility of having a dog. See you in June, NC!